Monday, November 15, 2010

The Huguenot Communal Plot: 1713-1830: Mount Jerome Cemetery

This large communal plot is the result of the 1966 exhumation of graves from the Huguenot Cemetery at Peter Street, Dublin. In 1966 the land on which the cemetery was located was under the ownership of the Trustees of the French Huguenot Fund, and they wished to sell it. A statute was created by the Irish government called THE HUGUENOT CEMETERY DUBLIN (PETER STREET) ACT 1966, and passage of it allowed for the disinterment of the remains of approximately 300 persons, the demolition of the mortuary chapel, and the sale of the property to W. & R. Jacob & Co. Ltd. (the biscuit and cracker company), with whom a deal had already been struck. You can view the details of the statute at the Irish government website Acts of the Oireachtas.

The remains of the Huguenots, including many children, were reinterred in Mount Jerome Cemetery in what is politely referred to as a "communal grave". The long grey headstone on which the names of the reinterred are inscribed is made of limestone and measures nine metres in length by two metres in height.

The Huguenots were members of the Protestant Reformed Church in France. Free to practice their faith due to the 1598 Edict of Nantes, they fled France in record numbers in the 17th century when in 1685 King Louis XIV passed the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes and imposed Catholicism as the French state's only acceptable religion. It is estimated that approximately 10,000 of the 200,000 Huguenots who fled France settled in Ireland.



*Click on Photographs to view larger version.
All Photographs ©Copyright J.Geraghty-Gorman 2010.
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